We are about a month away from free agency beginning in the National Football League and it seems like there is going to be a lot of movement, especially at the quarterback position. We are all wanting to see the Cowboys be players when it comes to free agency, but if recent history is any indication, we could be left sorely disappointed (again). Whether it’s the Cowboys or not, there will be teams who spend notable cash to land players that they want.
In the lead-up to free agency there will be a lot of speculation about certain players joining certain squads. The Cowboys have a need at a number of positions and the fine folks at ESPN seem to think that one particular veteran cornerback could help their cause.
ESPN believes Shaquill Griffin’s best free agent fit is with the Cowboys
Richard Sherman’s name has been thrown out a lot as one possible option to join Dan Quinn’s defense with the Cowboys this offseason (as has Patrick Peterson’s), but perhaps the best answer is someone who is just now coming off of playing for the Seattle Seahawks as opposed to being a few years disconnected from the Pacific Northwest.
We are talking about Seattle Seahawks cornerback Shaquill Griffin. The 2017 third-round pick is at the end of his rookie deal and is still just 26 years old. While his time in Seattle came after Dan Quinn had left to join the Atlanta Falcons, the possibility is certainly interesting.
28. Shaquill Griffin, CB
Best fit: Dallas Cowboys
Defensive back should be a top priority for Dallas, and Griffin is considered the top outside corner on the market. He can cover and is a willing tackler. Seattle will try to keep him. The Cowboys have to throw some money at the secondary, even with $14.1 million in space and the Dak Prescott deal staring them down.
The first sentence is arguably the most important as the secondary needs serious addressing in Dallas. Whether it’s Sherman, Peterson, or Griffin, the Cowboys would be wise to find themselves help before the 2021 NFL Draft begins.
Griffin had a far more impressive season in 2019 as opposed to 2020 when the entire Seahawks group rivaled the Cowboys for most porous defense in the league. He finished the season with a defensive grade of 64.6 from PFF, lower than Richard Sherman (67.7) and just a bit higher than Trevon Diggs (62.7).
Again, the important thing here is that the Cowboys absolutely need to walk away from free agency with a notable addition at cornerback. Griffin is a fine option, but they have hardly been a team willing to spend at the position.
ESPN listed Dak Prescott’s best free agency fit as the Carolina Panthers
When talking about free agency there is no major outlet on the internet that is avoiding the subject of Dak Prescott. It seems unlikely that he will hit the open market, but he is technically set to become a free agent (again).
The worldwide leader acknowledged that Prescott leaving the Cowboys isn’t exactly probable although they did find a team that they believe would fit him well if he did... the Carolina Panthers.
Franchise tagging Prescott a second time will lock the quarterback into a $37 million salary, which instantly becomes a benchmark for per-year value on a long-term deal. With Dallas picking 10th overall in a strong draft for quarterbacks, selecting a passer for one-eighth the annual price isn’t a terrible strategy if you’re still unwilling to meet Prescott’s demands. Dallas isn’t in terrible cap trouble with $14.2 million in space, but that’s with Prescott off the books. They have work to do.
In Carolina, Teddy Bridgewater’s future is murky after his late-season struggles, and the Panthers have shown they are all-in on the quarterback carousel. They got involved in the Matthew Stafford sweepstakes. If Deshaun Watson becomes available, they will probably do the same. They have $10.9 million in cap space and could create more with cuts and restructures. Moving on from Bridgewater’s contract would hit Carolina with $20 million in dead money, but they would also have $22.9 million in salary cap off the books.
Let Prescott and offensive coordinator Joe Brady get weird with a schemed-up mix of spread and NFL offensive concepts.
The Panthers certainly do seem like they are going to be heavy players in the quarterback market this offseason and obviously made a run at Matthew Stafford. If this hypothetical were to come to fruition it would be a bit interesting as some people wanted to see Panthers head coach Matt Rhule take over the Cowboys when Mike McCarthy did, not to mention the fact that Carolina visits Dallas in 2021.